When ABS-CBN management tapped director and filmmaker Connie Macatuno to helm the local adaptation of the phenomenal family drama Doctor Foster, the media company had one thing in mind, they wanted a female perspective on a narrative that is already familiar. Now, it’s up to Macatuno and her team on how they would make the series as engaging as the previous adaptations that have won the hearts of people across the globe.
But the bigger challenge here was not being faithful to the entire story, but how to make Doctor Foster, adapted locally as The Broken Marriage Vow, different and at the same time make it very Filipino and still be at par with other versions that were directed mostly by male directors.
“We were aiming for a global look but still very local,” Macatuno told Manila Standard in an exclusive interview.
“That’s the beauty of creating something remarkable. It’s like directing Glorious in a sense that people will remember it. Yet again, The Broken Marriage Vow is different. Iba ito. The series is an entirely different experience,” Macatuno carried on juxtaposing her current work with her previous project that also made a mark on local pop culture.
By all standards, Macatuno has succeeded in creating something unique. The Broken Marriage Vow is distinct in itself, it’s also a testament that Filipino talents can produce world-class drama while pushing and highlighting national identity.
By now, you would have already used Jodi Sta. Maria’s (who plays the now iconic lead Dr. Jill Ilustre) line “papunta pa lang tayo sa exciting part” either in your social media posts or in your conversations with friends and family members. It’s definitely a pop phenomenon based on how netizens came up with memes and parodies that attracted massive engagements online.
But does Macatuno considers this as a measure of success for the series? She certainly does. But The Broken Marriage Vow is more than just a pop phenom. It’s a passion project that elevated series production in the country.
In fashion, for instance, the series took Filipino costume design to a whole new level. Macatuno, who is also the show’s costume design head, showcased all Filipino-made clothing. Yes, 19 local designers and brands in total.
“Our vision was to showcase the contemporary way of wearing these clothes without bastardizing the origin of the fabric or its cultural heritage,” Macatuno said.
From clothing, bags, and accessories, to bespoke shoes, Macatuno made sure that “local fashion” will have its grand exposure.
“It’s our team effort to highlight original Filipino designs to celebrate our pride in being a Filipino in this series,” the prolific director added.
The global appeal of the drama, according to Macatuno also lies in the choice of location. She said the charming Summer Capital made all the difference.
“Baguio is a small place where everybody knows everybody, that’s why it matches the original version in the sense that the characters are familiar with each other and live in almost the same community,” Macatuno pointed out.
The most exciting part
Just like one of the most iconic lines in the show, in a separate interview with Manila Standard during the series’ finale media conference, Macatuno shared what she considered the most exciting part of doing the series.
“For me, it’s seeing my vision three-dimensionally, seeing your concept that’s just in your mind, turning into reality. Yung parang ang sarap maglaro. I call it ‘play’ because it’s like toying on the idea of ‘what if we do this or let’s go for this kind of approach.’ Inside you know where it’s going to go, but at the same time, the whole shoot does not rely on one person alone. It relies on each and everyone to make that vision happen,” Macatuno explained.
“So yun yung part ng excitement na makikita mo. For you to realize this vision in a short period of time, you need teamwork. It’s a nice feeling when you see everyone bloom, tapos makita mo yung location mo biglang mag-fit in kasi dati pictures lang yan,” she carried on stating that they had to go into 200-400 Powerpoint slides during the pre-production phase.
Asked how she would like The Broken Marriage Vow to be remembered by viewers, Macatuno reiterated the series’s attempt at pushing national identity.
“Based on the feedback I got, I think this is the first local series that used Filipino approach but in a global context. Pinoy naman tayo so lahat naman ng gawa natin very Filipino di ba? Kuwento ng Pinoy. Except that there’s a conscious effort, mindful effort to have a global approach. We wanted to introduce our country through The Broken Marriage Vow by saying, ‘heto kami bilang Pilipino’,” Macatuno enunciated.
The director admitted that doing the series was not a walk in the park which is why she’s extremely proud of the end result. She lauded the acting ensemble that made the series even more colorful and their effort to make their characters stand out in every frame.
“I hope this series would reawaken our efforts to introduce our talents globally, magpakilala globally bilang Pilipino,” she underscored.
Sharing the director’s chair with Macatuno is Andoy Ranay. Completing the cast are Zanjoe Marudo, Sue Ramirez, Zaijian Jaranilla, Bianca Manalo, Ketchup Eusebio, Jane Oineza, and Jake Ejercito.
The Broken Marriage Vow can be seen on Kapamilya Channel, A2Z, TV5, and Kapamilya Online Live on ABS-CBN Entertainment’s YouTube channel and Facebook page. The series is also available to viewers out of the Philippines on iWantTFC and The Filipino Channel (TFC) on cable and IPTV.